Ezekiel 26 and Psalm 74


Ezekiel 24 is the pronouncement of judgment against Tyre. Tyre was condemned not only for celebrating and participating in the demise of Jerusalem, but also in its role of introducing its false idolatry to Israel.


Psalm 74 is a psalm of anguish by Asaph. Carson shares a very helpful introduction,

It is appropriate to reflect on Psalm 74 at this stage of our reading of the major prophets. It sounds as if it was written at a time of national disaster, perhaps the devastation of 587 b.c. (compare Ps. 79, 137; Lam. 2:5-9). The worst blow of all is that all the prophets are silent (74:9). Then suddenly in the midst of the gloom and havoc is a breath of praise (74:12-17), before the darkness descends again (74:18-23). The interruption is dramatic, and reinforced by a sudden switch from the first person plural (“we,”“us”) to the first person singular:“But you, O God, are my king from of old” (74:12). Noteworthy features include… The anguish of this chapter emerges out of faith, not skepticism, still less cynicism. These people know God, but cannot see what he is doing. They are not so much protesting his punishment of them as its duration: they act as if they know the punishment is deserved, but is it open–ended? Is there no relief? “Why have you rejected us forever, O God?” (74:1). “Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins” (74:3). “How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever?” (74:10).1

Book: Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest

This morning, I returned to reading the book I started awhile ago by Ed Welch. In the chapter I read today, he addressed fear with Palm 46,

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)

Yes, the psalm is a stretch for us, not because of the potential brutality of the situation, but because of the psalmist’s radical trust in God. So let it stretch you. Let the psalmist take you places you could never go on your own. Let him be your guide through perilous times. He, after all, is a person like you. The faith he had can be your own and more, because you live on the side of history where the Spirit of God has been poured out on you. The Spirit gives you the knowledge of God. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever–present help in trouble.” A good friend was in the hospital with surgical pain so severe he couldn’t think, and he assumed he was going to die. The only words he could say were these words. That’s what we are aiming for. We want these words to be automatic when trouble comes knocking. What do they mean? That God can be found when we need him. Don’t forget that he was found by Israelites who were not even looking. How much more will he be found by those who call out to him in their desperation. Here is the challenge. When you call out, you might feel like he isn’t present or easily found. That is the nature of pain. The worse it is, the more alone you feel. But this is a time when the words of God must override your feelings. There are times when we listen to our feelings and times when we don’t. This is a time when we don’t.2

1 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 25.

2 Edward T. Welch, Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2007), 272.

Ezekiel 15 and Psalm 56-57

Ezekiel 15 is a short chapter of only 8 verses. The metaphor that Ezekiel uses is that of a dead vine (Ezekiel 15:2). He states that it is basically good for nothing but to be tossed into a fire and used as fuel (Ezek. 15:3-4). Even the remaining charred middle part of the vine that is pulled from the ashes is worthless (Ezek. 15:4-5). Likewise, the judgment on those in Jerusalem will be complete and there will be nothing left of any redeeming value.

It is worth noting that even though God is patient and withholds immediate judgment on our sin by His mercy, His judgment will come and it will be thorough. When I ponder that fact, I am comforted by the truth of the gospel and its effectiveness against the truth of Hebrews 9:27. I am deserving of the same judgment that the people of Jerusalem faced. I too have been guilty of idolatry and I have turned my back on God. Though there is no doubt that I was guilty and facing judgment before Christ redeemed me, I have also sinned against God since becoming a believer. Oh, what a wonderful work of grace the gospel is. Jesus has paid the penalty for my sin. The lyrics from the chorus of the song, Jesus Paid It All express this truth:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow. 1

Psalm 56 is rich for the believer who is burdened by fear and/or anxiety. Once of the most precious verses is Ps. 56:3, “When I am afraid I will trust in you.” (emphasis mine). It would be a good practice for every believer, myself included, to wake up each morning and quote that verse as a statement of our will!

Ps. 56:8 is a reminder that God does care about every pain we experience whether is is physical or emotional. Certainly the psalmist, David, experience physically pain while he and his men were on the run from King Saul, but the pain he speaks of in these psalms is likely emotional suffering. There is a great value in pairing Ps. 56:8 with Ps. 56:3.

Ps. 56:9-11 is an echo of Ps. 56:3. Since it is repeated again, it makes me pause to contemplate its importance. When I fear or when anxiety is crippling my life, I must trust in God even though I don’t see His hand. John Piper writes about anxiety in the blog at Desiring God:

Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than an earthly father.

…He knows everything about them now and tomorrow, inside and out. He sees every need.

Add to that, his huge eagerness to meet their needs (the “much more” of Matt. 6:30). Add to that his complete ability to do what he is eager to do (he feeds billions of birds hourly, Matt. 6:26).…2

D.A. Carson gives a wonderful explanation of the anguish that David felt in Ps. 57:2

Certainly David does not think that somehow circumstances have slipped away from such a God. He begs for mercy, but he recognizes that God, the powerful God, fulfills his purposes in him. This mixture of humble pleading and quiet trust in God’s sovereign power recurs in Scripture again and again. Nowhere does it reach a higher plane than in the prayer of the Lord Jesus in the garden: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). In some measure or another, every follower of Jesus Christ will want to learn the anguish and the joy of that sort of praying.3

My prayer this morning is that I can redeem the burden that I carry by the power of the Holy Spirit for His glory and for my good.

1 Faith Publishing House, Evening Light Songs, 1949, edited 1987 (466); All to Christ I Owe

2 John Piper, “Your Father Knows What You Need,” Desiring God (blog), February 9, 2009, http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/your-father-knows-what-you-need.

3 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 25.

Ezekiel 10 and Psalm 49

Ezekiel 10 is the part of Ezekiel’s vision where he sees the cherubim and the glory of God leaving the Temple. The vision is much the same as his original vision in Ezek. 1:1-28. Many of the contemporary gods of his day were thought to have a range limited by space and an influence within only a specific area. God, on His chariot-throne is free to leave the temple along with His power and influence. He chose to depart the temple because of the idolatry of Israel and because she had broken the covenant.

Psalm 49 is a warning to those who are wealthy and put their trust in their possessions. No one can ransom another person’s life (Ps. 4:5-9). Both the wealthy and the poor (and those somewhere in between) will die and leave all of their possessions behind. The poor do not need to fear the wealthy and the wealthy need to fear the Lord. The message of the gospel is for all people (Ps. 49:1-2) and those with means are not sufficient in themselves and able to ignore the gospel.

As a middle-of-the-roader, I don’t think I fear the rich, but perhaps I fear their influence. Psalm 49:16 is appropriate for putting life into the proper perspective. The one we should respect and be influenced by is The Lord Almighty.

Ezekiel 5 and Psalms 42-43

In Ezekiel 5, Ezekiel is again commanded to provide a physical illustration to the exiles of what is going to happen to Jerusalem. Remembering back a few days, the exiles did not or would not believe in the judgment against Jerusalem. In this case, Ezekiel shaves off all of his hair and beard and uses portions of it to demonstrate the various aspects of the judgment against Jerusalem. Ezekiel 5:12 provides the summary of the judgment: one third will die within the city from the siege, a third will die by the sword in the final breakout, and a third will be scattered into Exile.

The pronoun “I” is repeated throughout Ezekiel 5:8-17 and emphasizes the unstoppable hand of God’s wrath. Ezekiel 5:13 says that His wrath will eventually subside and His anger will cease. God’s wrath is not fully resolved until the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. (Rom. 3:20-26).

Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 are songs for the downcast heart. The phrase, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God…” is repeated three times in Ps. 42:5, Ps. 42:11, and Ps. 43:5. It may sound simplistic, but the solution to a downcast heart or depression, is hope in God. He is the source of joy and the antidote to depression.

Another relevant phrase  in Psalms 43:3 is, “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;” When confusion and fear step into my life, it is the truth and light of the Word of God that I need most in my life. Truth dispels darkness as light does. Fear grows in the absence of truth. Fear tells me God doesn’t care and I am all alone. Truth reminds me of His promises and gives hope for His presence and love.

I close with a beloved verse in Ps. 42:1, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” Just as a deer needs fresh water so my soul needs the living water from the Word of God to sustain my spiritual life.

Matthew Henry explains this verse effectively:

When he (David) was debarred from his outward opportunities of waiting on God, when he was banished to the land of Jordan, a great way off from the courts of God’s house. Note, sometimes God teaches us effectually to know the worth of mercies by the want of them, and whets our appetite for the means of grace by cutting us short in those means. We are apt to loathe that manna, when we have plenty of it, which will be very precious to us if ever we come to know the scarcity of it. 1

1 Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994. Print.

Jeremiah 51 and Psalm 30

Jer. 51 is actually yesterday’s reading. I fell behind a day so I plan to read yesterday’s scheduled reading this morning and today’s reading tonight.

Jer. 51 is a longer chapter that foretells of the destruction of Babylon. The Lord used Babylon as a tool of chastening against Israel. However, the sins of Babylon will not be overlooked or pardoned. The great city and nation will fall because of the just hand of God. Jer. 51:8-9 is interesting because there is a tone of pity for Babylon. If she would repent, she could be saved. However, the last part of Jer. 51:9 instructs the reader or Israel to walk away because Babylon will not repent but will be destroyed.

Jer. 51:20-23 describes the destructive actions that will occur. Jeremiah repeats the phrase, “…with you…”. I don’t think that means Israel, but I am not sure who it refers to without referencing a commentary. Jer. 51:34-35 describes the indictment against Babylon. The length of the chapter and the detailed description of the destruction and judgment against Babylon is worth noting.

Ps. 30:2 is a testimony of God’s care. When we cry out to God, our words do not fall to the ground unheard or unacknowledged. He hears us when we cry out to him. The second part of the verse tells us that He heals us when we cry out to him.

Ps. 30:5-6 tells us that pain and suffering has a finite duration. We endure it for a season or a time, but “…joy comes in the morning.” Often, lately, I wake up with fear but as I rise and begin the day, the fear subsides. Perhaps a brief prayer upon waking to acknowledge my heart to God would reflect the tenor of these verses.

Ps 30:8, 10 reiterate the psalmist’s thought that his repentance and his cry for help is directed to God and not to things or other people. Only God has the answer to the fears and deep hurts of life.

Ps. 30:11 is where the writer turns the corner. Mourning is turned to dancing. His prayers have been answered and there is a restoration of joy! His response is a thankful heart forever (Ps. 30:12)

D.A. Carson observes the spirit of Psalm 30 in his devotional book, “For the Love of God, Volume Two”,

many a christian has experienced the almost ineffable release of being transported from despair or illness or catastrophic defeat or a sense of alienated distance from God, to a height of safety or health or victory or spiritual intimacy with our Maker and Redeemer. Certainly David had such experiences. Psalm 30 records his pleasure during one of those transports of delight.